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Nairobi nurse's petition wins big for women's reproductive health services

The proposed new charges included costs such as Sh500 for inserting or removing an implant, Sh350 for inserting an IUCD, Sh500 for its removal, and Sh150 for a Depo-Provera injection.

Deborah Monari in Nurse Coat

Women in Nairobi can now breathe a sigh of relief as the County Government of Nairobi has withdrawn its proposed bill to introduce charges for reproductive health services.

Thanks to the efforts of nurse and human rights advocate, Debora Monari, the move to impose additional fees on vital services such as contraception and family planning in Level 4 hospitals has been successfully averted.

Speaking out against the detrimental impact of the proposed bill, Monari emphasised the importance of affordable and accessible healthcare services for all women, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds.

“I thought about how that 10-year-old girl, 15-year-old adolescent teenager, young female university student, woman, sister, or mother who gets sexually abused and becomes pregnant later this year in Nairobi and is from a poor background may not have access to essential free family planning services anymore. Can you imagine what would happen to her education, her health, and her future?" she said.


With a strong belief in the fundamental right to reproductive healthcare, Monari launched an online petition garnering support from Nairobi residents, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organizations, as well as concerned Kenyans across the country.

"I initiated an online petition rallying against the proposed Nairobi City County Finance Bill 2023, which threatened to make contraceptives and family planning services unaffordable for women, particularly those from low-income backgrounds," Monari said.

This collective support underscored the wider implications of the bill, highlighting the potential barriers it would erect for vulnerable women and families, denying them essential healthcare services.

"This not only highlights a significant victory for women's rights but also showcases the power of community advocacy and the role of dedicated individuals like me in driving change," she added.


Monari underscored the significant impact such policies could have on women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"If the bill had passed, women from vulnerable backgrounds and disadvantaged families would not be able to afford them," she noted.

The proposed charges included costs such as Sh500 for inserting or removing an implant, Sh350 for inserting an IUCD, Sh500 for its removal, and Sh150 for a Depo-Provera injection.

Additionally, the proposed bill stipulated that post-abortion care would cost as much as Sh3000.


Through her tireless advocacy, Monari emphasised that the lack of access to reproductive health services knows no boundaries.

"It does not discriminate. I have seen both teenagers and married women affected equally because they could not access this service," she stated, elucidating the profound impact such policies can have on the broader fabric of society.

This is not Deborah’s first petition, the nurse from Nairobi, and survivor of medical malpractice and negligence is also currently proactively championing an online petition to establish Patient Rights Committees across health institutions in Kenya.


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